Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage!

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There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize, however, that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s. As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”: “While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.” With home prices rising, many renters are concerned about their house-buying power. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explained: “Over the last three years, renter house-buying power has increased fast enough to keep pace with house price appreciation, so the share of homes that a renter can afford to buy has remained the same since 2015. Although mortgage rates are expected to rise, they are still low by historic standards, and real household incomes are the highest they have ever been. Assuming this trend continues, our measure of affordability, which takes into account income, interest rates, and […]

What State Gives You the Most ‘Bang for Your Buck’?

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Some Highlights: The majority of states in the Midwest and South offer a lower cost of living than states in the Northeast and West. The ‘biggest bang for your buck’ comes in Mississippi where, compared to the national average, you can actually purchase $115.74 worth of goods for $100. For more information regarding the methodology used to create this map, visit the Tax Foundation.

What Does the Recent Rash of Price Reductions Mean to the Real Estate Market?

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Last week, in a new report from Zillow, it was revealed that there has been a rash of price reductions across the country. According to the report: There are more price cuts now than a year ago in over two-thirds of the nation’s largest metros About 14% of all listings had a price cut in June Since the beginning of the year, the share of listings with a price cut increased 1.2% This is the greatest January-to-June increase ever reported, and more than double the January-to-June increase last year Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas further explained: “A rising share of on-market listings are seeing price cuts, though these price cuts are concentrated at the most expensive price-points and primarily in markets that have seen outsized price gains in recent years.” What this DOESN’T MEAN for the real estate market… This doesn’t mean home values have depreciated or are about to depreciate. A seller may put a home worth $300,000 on the market for $325,000 hoping a bidding war will occur and an overanxious buyer will pay more than its actual value. That has happened often over the last few years. If the seller gets no offers and reduces the price to $300,000, it doesn’t […]

Having Trouble Saving Enough for Your Down Payment? Crowdfund It!

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You read that right! First-time buyers across the country are getting creative when it comes to saving the necessary down payment to buy a home. Many couples are asking their wedding guests to contribute to their “Down Payment Fund” rather than fulfilling a traditional registry. This is fueled by the fact that some couples live together prior to marriage and already have the necessary items to make a house a home…they just need the house! The average wedding in the United States has 120 guests who give wedding gifts valued, on average, at $186. This means that couples could walk away from their nuptials with over $22,000 towards their down payment! Services like HomeFundMe allow friends, family members, and almost anyone else in a buyer’s network to contribute funds toward the buyer’s down payment. Contributors can determine, at the time of their donation, if their gifts are ‘conditional’ or ‘non-conditional’ on the beneficiary buying a home. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “about 400 borrowers have used HomeFundMe to help buy homes since the program launched in October and on average, they raise about $2,500.” The article went on to explain that most borrowers use these funds in combination with their personal savings to […]

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained

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Have you ever been flipping through the channels, only to find yourself glued to the couch in an HGTV binge session? We’ve all been there, watching entire seasons of “Love it or List it,” “Million Dollar Listing,” “House Hunters,” “Property Brothers,” and so many more all in one sitting. When you’re in the middle of your real estate themed show marathon, you might start to think that everything you see on TV must be how it works in real life, but you may need a reality check. Reality TV Show Myths vs. Real Life: Myth #1: Buyers look at 3 homes and decide to purchase one of them. Truth: There may be buyers who fall in love and buy the first home they see, but according to the National Association of Realtors the average homebuyer tours 10 homes as a part of their search.   Myth #2: The houses the buyers are touring are still for sale. Truth: Everything is staged for TV. Many of the homes being shown are already sold and are off the market.  Myth #3: The buyers haven’t made a purchase decision yet. Truth: Since there is no way to show the entire buying process in a 30-minute show, TV producers often choose […]

The Net Worth of a Homeowner is 44x Greater Than A Renter!

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Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. Their latest survey data, covering 2013-2016 was recently released. The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner was $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013). These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter. Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home. That is why, for the fifth year in a row, Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment. This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26% and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds. Greater equity in your home gives you options If you want to find out how you can use the increased equity in your home to move […]

Housing Market: Another Gigantic Difference Between 2008 and 2018

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Some are attempting to compare the current housing market to the market leading up to the “boom and bust” that we experienced a decade ago. They look at price appreciation and conclude that we are on a similar trajectory, speeding toward another housing crisis. However, there is a major difference between the two markets. Last decade, while demand was being artificially created by extremely loose lending standards, a tremendous amount of inventory was coming to the market to satisfy that demand. Below is a graph of the inventory of homes available for sale leading up to the 2008 crash.   A normal market should have approximately 6 months supply of housing inventory. As we can see, that number jumped to over 11 months supply leading up to the housing crisis. When questionable mortgage practices ceased, and demand dried up, there was a glut of inventory on the market which caused prices to drop as there was too much supply and not enough demand. Today is radically different! There are those who believe that low mortgage rates have created an artificial demand in the current market. They fear that if mortgage rates continue to rise, some of the current demand will dry […]

Have You Outgrown Your Starter Home?

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For many Americans, buying their first home is their first taste of achieving part of the American Dream. There is a sense of pride that comes along with owning your own home and building your family’s wealth through your monthly mortgage payment. It may seem hard to imagine that the first home you purchased (which made your dreams come true) might not be the home that will allow you to achieve the rest of your dreams. The good news is that it’s ok to admit that your home no longer fits your needs! According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, prices in the starter home market have appreciated faster than any other category over the last year, at 9.4%. At the same time, inventory in this category has dropped 14.2%. These two stats are directly related to one another. As inventory has decreased and demand has increased, prices have been driven up. This is great news if you own a starter home and are looking to move up to a larger home as the equity in your home has risen as prices have gone up. Even better is the fact that there is a large pool of buyers out there searching for your starter home […]

Homebuyers Willing to Sacrifice ‘Must-Haves’ in Favor of Good School Districts

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It should come as no surprise that buying a home in a good school district is important to homebuyers. According to a report from Realtor.com, 86% of 18-34 year-olds and 84% of those aged 35-54 indicated that their home search areas were defined by school district boundaries. What is surprising, however, is that 78% of recent homebuyers sacrificed features from their “must-have” lists in order to find homes within their dream school districts. The top feature sacrificed was a garage at 19%, followed closely by a large backyard, an updated kitchen, the desired number of bedrooms, and an outdoor living area. The full results are shown in the graph below.   Buyers are attracted to schools with high test scores, accelerated academic programs, art and music programs, diversity, and before and after-school programs. With a limited number of homes available to buy in today’s real estate market, competition is fierce for homes in good school districts. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor.com, explained further, “Most buyers understand that they may not be able to find a home that covers every single item on their wish list, but our survey shows that school districts are an area where many buyers aren’t willing to compromise. For many buyers and not just […]